Teachers. We love you. And while Teacher Appreciation Week occurs only once during the year, we at Van Andel Institute for Education feel that you deserve to feel valued and appreciated every single day of the year. 

Today, and everyday, I want you to feel that love and appreciation. Below is a short list of reasons why you are extraordinary. This world needs you. And it is simply a better place because of the work you do each and every day.

YOU Help Children Discover Who They Are

From the moment students walk into your classroom (and more than likely, even before!), you spend countless hours figuring each and every one of them out. From their favorite food to the way they learn how to multiply the best, you have them figured out. You give them insight into their strengths and help them identify their weaknesses, all while supporting them 100% of the way. You let them take the reigns and determine their learning path. Because of this, students learn about themselves through the process of self-discovery. They feel confident in themselves and recognize that you value each of them for who they are.

YOU Build Risk-Takers

Let’s face it. Not every student comes into your classroom with the skills and/or confidence to “take the leap” into new learning adventures.  But you have a skillful way of taking off their training wheels and strapping on their knee pads, making them feel confident and supported with anything that gets thrown their way.

YOU Make Learning FUN

Most people see cardboard rolls and paper plates as materials with no other purpose than what they are intended. But not you. You see these as supplies for endless learning opportunities. Maybe you are that teacher that stands on the tables to engage students in learning, or maybe you light money on fire to captivate and excite them (Yes, that really happens! Check out this Blue Apple project). No matter your engagement style, you aim to amaze, and this keeps your students coming back for more.

YOU Work Relentlessly

You  put so much hard work into each and every day. Every single part of you, physically, intellectually, socially, and emotionally, is invested into making sure your students are successful. I can’t imagine another profession that requires one to invest so much of themselves in such a way. 

YOU Face Challenges Fearlessly

This past year has been like no other. Schools were forced to close. Students were introduced to a whole new way of learning – virtually. And you? You didn’t skip a beat. You danced in front of the cameras to get your kindergartners actively engaged. Your home kitchens became science labs to teach your high school students chemistry in an interactive way. And you made numerous phone calls and home visits to ensure that your students were doing okay. This seriously puts you at superhero status. Please don’t take that lightly.

YOU Make Learning Meaningful and Relevant

It’s one thing to have to get students to learn the standards. It’s another thing to turn these opportunities into experiences that are relevant and real. When you have to teach your middle school students argumentative writing, you invite them to write to their local representatives on ways they feel change is necessary. When you have to teach your elementary students about human factors that influence the environment, you have them research ways in which their state could contribute to meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This is work that matters.

YOU Make A Difference

There is no greater profession than the one you are in. It has an immeasurable impact. Every day, you have your hands on the potter’s wheel, sculpting and creating a work of art with limitless potential. It is the one career that directly impacts all of the others. To say “Thank You” seems so understated, because the work you do every day is way beyond the ordinary. Teachers, you are extraordinary, and our world is SO much better because of YOU.

And if you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed or exhausted, just remember that we are always happy to help!

We hope you are all staying healthy and safe during this difficult time. For more free educational resources, or ideas on how to promote healthy SEL, simply follow this link!